Vol. 8 No. 51 (Extra)
Copyright © 2007
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elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.
George Warrington, at 55
George Warrington, the profane, combative and brilliant President of Amtrak from 1998 to 2002, whose great political skills earned him both criticism and praise, died Christmas Eve at his home in Mendham, NJ, after battling pancreatic cancer for more than eight months.
The Newark Star-Ledger reported the death this Christmas morning.
Originally a transit executive in New Jersey and Delaware, Warrington became head of Amtrak in 1998 after serving for four years as head of its Northeast Corridor business unit of the railroad, Amtraks most heavily used segment. Prior to Amtrak, George Warrington served as the Executive Director and President of the Delaware River Port Authority and Port Authority Transit Corporation from July 1992 to January 1994. He was the Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation from November 1990 to July 1992. He was head of New Jersey Transit from 2002 until January 2007, when he stepped down for personal reasons.
Warrington was succeeded in May of 2002 by legendary railroad and transit operator David Gunn, who immediately realized that financial catastrophe was at hand: Amtrak was perhaps two weeks away from missing payroll, and the chaos that that would have caused. Gunn, outspoken and honest to a fault, called Congress bluff and got an emergency appropriation approved, which, combined with superb management, and --- over the next few years, with an increasingly supportive Congress --- kept Amtrak running with bi-partisan support. Gunn, who actually did turn Amtrak around, was in turn fired by the White House in November 2005 when it attempted to push through a shut-down break-up scenario that would have stripped Amtrak of its assets, despite the complete loss of Congress support for that action, and Gunn simply refused to accede to it.
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